Referrals — You Are the Marketing Department

Results depend on relationships. It is your customer who pays your wages. So it stands to reason that, the more buyers you have, the more money you make.

It sounds logical, but many salespeople have not firmly grasped that singular truth. If they have, they will do everything possible to keep their customers happy and to bring their prospects to closing.

There are two methods you can use to increase your business in the profession of new home and neighborhood sales. You can wait for company-generated walk-in traffic, or you can obtain more business from your existing customers.

The more profitable of the two is to obtain more business from your existing customer base. Every customer is a source of new business and referrals. Once you have satisfied a customer, he or she will continue doing business with you if you follow up an stay in touch.

Customers Buy "More of the Same"

How will customers continue to do business with you? They will eventually purchase another new home or some investment property and you are able to continue to upgrade them in perpetuity, if you make them feel like royalty.

Regardless of what was initially purchased (home, homesite or investment property), there will come a time your customers will become dissatisfied with what they have. Or their investment strategy will have changed and they will want to upgrade or add to their original investments.

Customers Provide Referrals

In addition to buying more property themselves, your customers will also provide you with referrals. What’s great about a referral? Referencing the studies, 68 percent of the decision to purchase is based on the trust and credibility customers feel for the salesperson. This means a referral prospect is almost 70 percent sold on your personal credibility because someone he or she trusts had recommended you.

Also, for the most part, referrals are prequalified. Are you familiar with the term "nest factor?" It states, "Birds of a feather flock together." If your customers are financially qualified to own, they are, in all probability, associating with and referring to you qualified prospects.

What’s the Outcome — The Welfare Line?

If the benefit of referral prospects isn’t enough to excite you, then you need to ask yourself the sobering question, "What’s the outcome if I do not obtain referrals?"

The outcome is to wait for walk-ins. What’s the result of doing this? Well, waiting for walk-ins is like being on welfare.

That’s right, waiting for walk-ins, call-ins and company-generated traffic is like being on welfare. You become dependent on the system, which is your company’s marketing department. Depending on the system causes you to sit around, day in and day out, saying to your company, yourself and, more importantly, your family, "I don’t need help. I need a handout." When business is slow, the cry is always the same: "The marketing programs aren’t working," and "Traffic is off."

Your goal with referrals should have you setting a minimum standard of "one for one." For every one sale, you will obtain a referral sale. Think of the advantages if you just obtained one referral sale from each customer. Regardless of the number of transactions you have in a year, you would have in your sales funnel the same number of transactions waiting for you the following year. The benefit is that you will never have to start a New Year from ground zero. Couple your referral sales with company-generated sales and your business grows exponentially.

Methods and Strategies to Maintain Customer Contact

Maintaining customer contact starts the day of possession, on the delivery of their new home or homesite. That very day it is appropriate to welcome your customers to their neighborhood with a gift. It it’s impossible to meet them personally, then forward the gift, and follow up with a call.

Carry a Digital Camera

Buy a digital camera and carry it in your car. If you have absentee owners, mail them pictures of wildlife or the change of seasons that you have taken. Absentee owners, as well as local residents, appreciate pictures of their homes or surrounding property under construction. You can take pictures of a golf course under construction or any amenity underway. It’s an inexpensive but effective pictorial follow up of the same pictures electronically mailed to different customers.

Contact Customers on Holidays

Cards are a meaningful contact. However, a once-a-year Christmas card gains no respect and is lost in the shuffle of all the others. A more effective strategy is to contact customer with nontraditional holiday cards. There are companies that manufacture Labor Day, Memorial Day, Groundhog Day, Thanksgiving, Easter, and even Halloween cards. And, of course, there is the most special occasion, each customer’s birthday.

Contact Customers Whenever There are New Developments and Changes

The release of a new phase, a new neighborhood, or housing lines, with presale information is not only a proactive contact, but just may be the prompting for an additional sale.

Contact Customers with a Personal Newsletter and Newspaper Clippings

A monthly or quarterly newsletter is just smart business and allows mass contact. Also, many time your neighborhood or builder/developer may receive complimentary publicity in a newspaper or publication.

Contact Them on the Anniversary Dates of Their Purchase

You are touching base with your customers to be sure everything is all right, and letting them know you are always available. Literally with holidays, special events and your company’s new products, you can easily stay in front of your customers on a monthly, or at least a bimonthly, basis.

Realtor and Sphere of Influence Referrals

The days of simply showing up at your model or sales center and picking up a check while waiting for walk-ins are over. It’s a new age, and this is one of self-prospecting. Great opportunities await the new home and neighborhood sales Superachiever who takes advantage of networking.

The key to building a Realtor referral business is to understand the Realtor’s prospect is not your customer. The Realtors themselves are your customers and they should be respected accordingly. Just like any other customer, the more the Realtor trusts you, the more prospects they will refer.

Sphere of Influence Referrals

Who are you helping? Who can help you? Bankers, closing attorneys and those partners close to your business should feel comfortable in establishing a mutually beneficial relationship. Partnering with others is the embodiment of networking.

There is no such thing as downtime in new home and neighborhood sales. There is only quiet time while waiting for walk-in traffic. If you want more sales, there is a way of self-prospecting. With you at the helm of your personal marketing department, you can create you own great year.

Referral Prospecting Close

The optimum time to obtain referrals is either immediately after the purchase or at the time of delivery. If you have provided excellent customer service and maintained customer follow up, your customer may provide you with referrals. However, for the most part, you must be willing to ask for them.

Superachiever: "Mr. And Mrs. Customer, I have a favor to ask you."

Customer: "Sure, what is it?"

Superachiever: "With my business, my most valued resource is the customer. My top priority is knowing you are satisfied. You are satisfied and comfortable with your investment decision, aren’t you?"

Customer: "We certainly are."

Superachiever: "Then, the favor I ask is this: I would like to share the same opportunity with your friends or relatives. Do two to three persons come to mind who would enjoy the same benefits as you?"

Remember that you earn referrals by excellent service. If you have followed through and satisfied the customer with good service and positive results, you have earned the right to ask for referrals.

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